What Causes Eruption Cysts & How to Treat Them

What Causes Eruption Cysts & How to Treat Them
profile picture of Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
What Causes Eruption Cysts & How to Treat ThemClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
Last Modified:

Clinical content featured by Byte is reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to help ensure clinical accuracy.

We follow strict sourcing guidelines and each page contains a full list of sources for complete transparency.

Table of Contents

  1. Who Gets Them?
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. How Common Are They?
  5. Diagnosis & Treatment
  6. How Long Until It Goes Away?
  7. When to See a Doctor
  8. References

An eruption cyst is a soft but pronounced growth that stems from the development and formation of teeth. It is a sac-like structure that develops around the crown of a developed tooth that hasn’t erupted.

These cysts usually develops around regions with a reduced enamel outer layer (epithelium). Epithelium offers protection to the crown before it erupts from the gums.

The cysts, also known as eruption hematomas, tend to appear more on the maxillary bone that forms the upper jaw than on the mandibular bone. They typically present as a bluish or reddish swelling forming over an erupting tooth.

Although they have similar characteristics, eruption cysts are different from dentigerous cysts. The distinction between the two was according to findings made by the WHO.

Dentigerous cysts form when the tooth hasn’t erupted and is still bone tissue — an eruption cyst forms when the tooth is already in the soft tissues but is impeded from erupting.

Eruption cysts are not contagious, meaning they cannot spread from one person to another.

Who Gets Them?

Children ages 5 to 7 years and whose teeth are erupting are the people most prone to getting these kinds of cysts. The condition is less common in infants and toddlers.

Males are more susceptible to them than females. Researchers have documented cases of eruption cysts among adults.

Symptoms of Eruption Cyst

The condition is asymptomatic but can become painful if a cyst grows inflamed. In most cases, it usually presents with the following clinical features:

  • Sores appear as a soft swelling with a translucent covering on the tissue covering the tooth’s crown.
  • If cysts contain blood, they may appear dark blue or purplish. If they have no blood, they will appear reddish-brown.
  • Multiple cysts can occur at the same time.
  • Cysts are generally more pronounced on the right jaw than on the left jaw.
  • Cysts typically measure less than 1 cm in size, but they can grow larger.
  • Cysts can rupture and become infected, resulting in bleeding and a foul-smell mouth.
  • If a cysts becomes infected, it typically turns into a minor fever.

Lesions start to appear four days before the eruption of a tooth begins. If affected, you seldom feel any pain, but if it ruptures, it could cause discomfort to your jaws.

Causes of Eruption Cysts

The exact cause of the eruption cyst is unclear, but dental diseases seem to play a role. Other possible factors:

  • Early childhood caries (ECC) is a disease that causes tooth decay, filled tooth surfaces, or missing teeth in children under six years (children with this disease are more susceptible to getting eruption cysts)
  • Trauma (injury or displacement) of primary teeth
  • Teeth infection
  • Presence of dense fibrous tissues that impedes the eruption of teeth
  • Inadequate space for the eruption of teeth due to teeth growing too close to each other could cause cysts
  • Accumulation of blood between the overlying soft tissue and the erupting tooth

Prescription drugs such as cyclosporine A, an immunosuppressant, can also cause eruption cysts

How Common Are They?

It is one of the many cysts affecting the oral cavity, and it is quite common, affecting about 3% of the population. Since it impacts people with developing teeth, children usually suffer the most from eruption cysts.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Eruption Cysts

Almost all odontoid cysts present with similar symptoms. Dentists thus carry out a differential diagnostic test to distinguish between the different cysts. The lab tests will ensure that the doctor prescribes the right treatment.

  • The physicians will first do a physical examination of your oral cavity. They will examine the cysts looking at their size, location, and color.
  • After the physical examination, the doctor might order an imaging test. An X-ray is the most common imaging test done on patients with eruption cysts.
  • The X-ray test will show the number of cysts present on the jaws. It will also show if the lesions have spread to the bone tissue (bone involvement).

If the lesions become persistent or reappear, the doctors will remove them. The method used will depend on the severity of the lesions, with the most preferred ways of treating eruption cysts including:

  • Removal of cysts by surgical methods: This is especially true if they have a bacterial infection.
  • Using a laser: Unlike surgery, there is no excessive bleeding when using this method.
  • Massage: The physician might massage the upper region of the cysts to help erupt the tooth.
  • Naturally: the doctor might decide to let it disappear naturally. The time it takes for the eruption cysts to go away depends on an individual. You might require a few weeks for it to disappear, while someone else might take months.

There are currently no known measures to prevent eruption cysts, although actions such as proper cleaning of teeth can help prevent dental diseases. Being disease-free reduces your chances of getting the infection.

The only feasible way of dealing with eruption cysts is to manage them by keeping all fluid drained. Alternatively, you could allow the tooth to burst through. Always seek medical attention whenever symptoms persist. That’s because cysts could form because of other serious underlying ailments.

How Long Until It Goes Away?

Eruption cysts tend to disappear independently without using any form of drugs. That usually takes a few days or weeks. They will disappear as soon as the tooth erupts above the gum line.

However, if your tooth is impacted or grows slowly, it could take up to four months for the eruption cyst to disappear.

When to See a Doctor

It’s possible that you won’t show any symptoms if you have the condition, so seeking the advice of a medical professional usually only happens when you are symptomatic. However, if you do present with symptoms, dentists advise to get immediate medical attention.

Severe symptoms can range from painful jaws to fever to difficulty in eating. The doctor will then order a few diagnostic tests to identify the presence of the disease.


Cysts Of The Jaws. (February 2000). The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry.

Eruption cysts: Diagnosis and imaging test. (April 1999). Columbia University.

Eruption cyst formation associated with cyclosporin A. (April 2003). Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Eruption cysts: A series of 66 cases with clinical features. (February 2017). U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Eruption Cyst: A Case report. (December 2013). Annals and Essences of Dentistry.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.